Issue #142 October 2021
October 2021

It’s been a long, hot, wacky year, hasn’t it? From too cold to too hot to too dry to too wet to too busy, we’ve pretty much bounced off every wall of the 2021 envelope. It’s time to lick the flap and seal summer shut until next year. 
We keep bragging about our vastly enhanced production facility at Milton, but here’s something we haven’t told you: It’s about to become our shipping point, too. That’s a major change for us, a non-event for you -- or is it? Our increased efficiency creates a leaner process. We still grow at more than one location, but the great majority of your starters will now undergo one less truck ride, one less loading/unloading/reloading cycle. Which is an absolute win-win.

ECG's new Milton, FL shipping facility. A 500' long headhouse directly connects 4 acres of greenhouses to our newly built shipping warehouse.

ECG's new Milton, FL shipping facility nearing completion.

You know life is kinda weird when Florida checks up on us after a hurricane. Ida stormed through PA in slow motion, dumping 10” of rain. The Conestoga River rose to its third-highest recorded flood stage ever. It got a little scary when it was 8’ deep in my back yard.

Flooding closed Rt 222 in Lancaster, PA
In the greenhouses, our first trays of begonias – yep, we have begonias, and they’re bodacious – are looking great. They’re perfect companions for holiday decor, from pumpkins to poinsettias. They asked me to tell you they can’t wait to migrate from our benches to yours.

Yes, I’m the Lorax of liners. I speak for the starters. For more, see “Ho-Ho-Holidays!” below.

Begonia Holiday® 'Spirit' PPAF
Our Rock Star award honors ECG employees who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and inspire others. This month, that description fits Jhaimal Johnson.

Jhaimal rose to Rock Stardom faster than any winner to date: He’s been with us for just over a year. But he’s quickly established himself, as these quotes from his co-workers will attest.
“One specific employee consistently pushes himself and those around him to do better, and that employee is Jhaimal "J" Johnson. J can always be seen working hard around the property. Whether it be on a roof working with shade, or making sure picking has their crops cut back, he is always pushing himself to do better, and that energy carries over to his coworkers. J is our jack-of-all-trades, and that is why he gets my vote for the Rockstar Award.”

“In a little over a year, J has repeatedly proven himself to learn quickly, work hard and have a great attitude. He helps anytime and anywhere needed and constantly seeks ways to assist others.”

“After a few months with the logistics team, he transferred into plant care for both perennials and grasses. He is regularly accomplishes many plant-care related tasks. We are proud to employ him and look forward to many years of working with him.” 

“J is one of plant care’s key members. He can do cutbacks, shade cloth, spraying, drenching, roof scrubbing, weed control, cleanup…basically anything you can think of that’s plant care related. He does whatever he’s asked to do without questioning and can work well with anyone. He takes initiative in planning sprays and is always willing to stay late or come in on weekends to get things done.”

“Most importantly, J always has a good attitude when he comes to work, no matter how tired he is or how hot it is outside!”

“J is a rising star on our plant care team. He plays an instrumental role on the spray team and well as all plant care tasks.”

“Jhaimal is dependable, easy to work with, and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. And all this with a newborn baby keeping him up at night!”

Congratulations, Jhaimal! A “whatever it takes” attitude is key in this industry, and you’ve got it. Thank you for your hard work and consistent effort as an important part of the ECG team. You rock!
TRAY BON! Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays
We’re known for hardy grasses and perennials, but we have a tender spot for irresistible tender plants. And the breeding wizards at Terra Nova Nurseries have outdone themselves – again! – with their world-class Begonias.

These multi-purpose beauties are sensational as houseplants, solo or in mixed containers. And they shine brightest as seasonal decor. We couldn’t resist them. Your customers won’t even try!

Holiday® Series: Spectacular anytime, especially for winter color
Small red flowers are generously scattered among holly-like pointed leaves, embossed with silver. Height 17 – 22”  

Bright pink flowers contrast beautifully with green-veined silver foliage. Height 12 – 18”  
Small red/pink flowers peek from dense masses of elegant silver, wing-like leaves with pink stems. Height 9 – 16” 
Lots of salmon/pink flowers. Sterling silver leaves with mint green centers. Height 17”
Dainty snow-white flowers adorn big upright mounds of quilted leaves, pristine silver/white with deep green starry pattern and maroon undersides. Height 18”  
Culture Notes
Plant now for finished fall/winter pots. They’ll be retail-ready as alternatives or enhancements to traditional seasonal decor, from mums and pumpkins all the way to poinsettias!

Interest in houseplants is growing like a magic beanstalk. Stake your claim to a piece of this surging, burgeoning market with Holiday® Begonias
PPA VISIT: Thanks for coming!
A fine time was had by all when the Perennial Plant Association visited our PA trial gardens during their Mid-Atlantic Region “pop-up” event. This all-outdoors event featured three tour stops and educational presentations on foodscaping and propagation. Attendees enjoyed breakfast, lunch and beverages, free plants and two cool bags o’swag, one from PPA and one from ECG. The day ended at a chic rooftop restaurant in Lancaster.

More pop-up events are slated in the South and Northeast.
Nick DiBernardo hosted PPA visitors in ECG's PA trial garden.
October 15th brings the virtual edition of the famous Perennial Plant Conference that’s usually held at Scott Arboretum, a.k.a. Swarthmore College. Four excellent speakers (one of whom will be introduced by Yours Truly) are on tap. Since it’s virtual, it’s very reasonably priced, and you can “attend” from anywhere!

Busy on the 15th? No problem: Registered attendees can access a recording after the fact. For deets on how to Zoom in:
Sure, there’s Halloween, a.k.a. Dentists’ Day, but that glorious orgy of costumes and candy at month’s end isn’t October’s only biggie.

October 1st is Cephalopod Awareness Day. Wouldn’t “An Octopus’ Garden” be a cool name for a seafood restaurant? There are probably copyright issues, so just bring a squid home for dinner instead.

The 9th is International Beer & Pizza Day, but can’t we celebrate that one every day?

The 13th is International Skeptics Day. Yeah, like I’m gonna believe THAT.
Still not sure what to do on the 15th? Re-read What’s Hot! above.

Finally, the whole month is International Pork Month. Go ahead, pig out!
If your summer has resembled ours, here’s hoping the solstice delivers a measure of sanity to your personal craziness. May this be a calmer, cooler, more copacetic time of year. If a sugar rush from raiding the kids’ Halloween loot is your biggest October regret, you’re absolutely nailing it.

See y’all next month.
John Friel
Marketing Manager